Harvey relief efforts – How you can help

HAMPTON ROADS. Va. (WAVY) – Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane and then lingered just off the coast as a drenching tropical storm, sent devastating floods pouring into Houston.

The rising water forced a mass evacuation of parts of the city and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with constant calls for help. Many people in Hampton Roads have asked how they can help those victims.

The Red Cross and other organizations ask people to not go to Houston to help because trained disaster relief personnel are on the ground, and you could put them and yourself in danger. But there are plenty of other ways to help.

Red Cross

If you would like to make a donation to Harvey victims you can text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or you can call 1800-RED CROSS and/or visit RedCross.org to learn more about donating.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.  You can also text STORM to 51555. The organization has mobilized disaster teams from across the country to respond to the communities impacted by the catastrophic storm.

United Way

The United Way launched a relief fund to help meet storm-related needs in Texas. You can designate where your donation goes or allow the United Way to decide. Click here to make a donation.  Or text UWFLOOD to 41444. In many communities, United Way also supports their local 2-1-1 as their community’s resource.  If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call 2-1-1 or www.211texas.org.

FEMA 

If you are an individual, please remember that cash is the best at this time. Please donate to a Texas VOAD Member or a National VOAD Member to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We have also included a donation form for individuals, that can be found here.

If you are a company seeking to donate goods to the Hurricane Harvey Response efforts, please fill out the form located on the Corporate Donations page. This information will be sent to the appropriate parties as needs arise.

10 On Your Side reminds you to make sure you know where your money is going. You can check with a charity monitoring organization before donating. Here are a few links: GiveWell, Charity Watch and Charity Navigator.

Operation Blessing

An Operation Blessing team from Hampton Roads left for Texas on Friday, Aug. 25. You can find out how to donate or volunteer with the organization online.

Tangible donations

Diapers are in demand and the Texas Diaper Bank is asking for diaper donations. You can mail diapers to 4514 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas  78238. You can also make a donation on their website.

Austin Disaster Relief Network is asking for toiletries, undergarments, socks and other much-needed items. If you are not in the area to drop off a donation at the Hope Family Thrift Store, they are accepting tax-deductible online donations.

The Southeast Texas Foodbank covers eight counties and is accepting donations. Find the list of needed items here.

Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint in downtown Norfolk is donating 100 percent of its profit this week the Red Cross.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey. Scammers often send emails that steer victims to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes. These sites frequently look like the sites of legitimate charities, or use names similar to legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.

Here are tips from the IRS to be sure you’re donating to a legitimate cause:

  • Be sure to donate to recognized charities.
  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
  • Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists may use this information to steal a donor’s identity and money.
  • Never give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the donation.
  • Consult IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, available on IRS.gov. This free booklet describes the tax rules that apply to making legitimate tax-deductible donations. Among other things, it also provides complete details on what records to keep.